First Lady Jill Biden Heads to College to Teach In-Person Classes

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
September 7, 2021 Updated: September 7, 2021

First Lady Jill Biden is returning to the classroom to teach in-person classes on Tuesday for the first time since her husband entered office in January.

The first lady, 70, will be teaching in-person two times a week at Northern Virginia Community College’s campus in Alexandria.

Jill Biden has been a professor of English at the school since 2009. She had been teaching remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“She is looking forward to teaching and communicating in person rather than through the screen,” Michael LaRosa, the first lady’s press secretary, told news outlets in a statement.

The return to the classroom is believed to mark the first time a first lady has held a full-time job outside the White House.

Jill Biden wrote in a recent Time magazine essay that the classroom closures across the country during the pandemic were “difficult for everyone, and that was especially true for the educators who had to reimagine our lesson plans and rethink our classrooms almost overnight.”

“I’ve missed being able to read people’s body language when they aren’t connecting with the material I’m teaching. I miss the energy of a full class, when everyone is talking over each other and the ideas bounce back and forth between them. I miss the conversations that happen when people linger after class,” she told Good Housekeeping in a recent interview.

“This past year did surprise me, though. I thought it would be harder online to create the community that makes our classes so special, but my students really stepped up. We found new ways to connect with each other. I learned a lot, and some of those lessons I’ll take forward to future years of teaching. Still, there are some things you just can’t replace, and I can’t wait to get back in the classroom, this fall,” she added.

Northern Virginia Community College declined to comment.

A dean at the school told The Washington Post that Jill Biden would be teaching College Composition I and English Composition Readiness II.

Northern Virginia Community College officials announced last month that the school’s return to campus would include mandatory masks, even if students or faculty are vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19.

All community college faculty must receive a COVID-19 vaccine, following an order from Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat. Employees can opt out if they apply for a medical or religious exemption and the exemption is approved.

Instructors are allowed to remove their masks inside if they’re teaching from a distance of at least six feet.

The first lady was vaccinated along with President Joe Biden in December 2020.

“As we return to our classrooms this fall, it will take all of us coming together to keep our schools safe and open. We must remember that our enemy is the virus, not one another,” she wrote in her essay.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.